Hannah Weighart

Photo by Saina
Photo by Saina Rezvani

Before ballet class, junior Hannah Weighart can be found tying her hair into a bun and chatting with her friends in the studio. But when she is about to step onstage, she takes a moment alone to reflect, focus and curb her excitement. She tells herself, “I can do it.”

Weighart has been dancing since she was about five years old, but it was not until 7th grade that she decided she wanted to make dance a bigger part of her life.

“I realized this is my passion, and this is what I love to do, so I’ve just made it every part of my life,” Weighart said. “It’s really come to relax me now. It’s an interesting balance between challenging yourself to do something physically hard and calming your mind.”

According to Weighart’s father, Scott Weighart, his daughter’s transition to taking ballet more seriously came after she broke a bone in her foot right before her class started using pointe shoes.

“Because of her injury, she had to just sit and watch kind of wistfully as all the other kids got to do this,” he said. “I think sometimes when you’re unable to do something for a time, it gives you priority on just how important it is.”

In addition to practicing ballet, Hannah Weighart also takes classes in jazz, tap and contemporary dance at the Boston Dance Company and the Jean Paige School of Dance. At the high school, she has taken modern dance for three years. She has also taken part in the school musical for the past two years.

Weighart said, ballet takes up most of her class time and is critical because it provides her with fundamentals she can use in other types of dance. However, she said her favorite genre of dance is jazz.

“ is always really energetic, and you’re always moving with it,” she said. “Ballet is really the basis of any kind of dance, so I think its really important to have the most of the basics you can get, and I apply my ballet training to other types of dance, like jazz.”

Weighart’s teacher at the Boston Dance Company, James Rearden, said the smile Weighart wears when dancing is radiant.

“She carries that not only in class, but also on stage,” Rearden said. “She’s a performer. She’s gifted and born with that.”

Rearden also said that Weighart has natural stage presence.

“She really has that sense of freedom and attack to go after what she has to do,” he said. “She just loves it. It radiates across the stage lights, through the aisles.”

Scott Weighart said he thinks that in addition to improving her technical skills, dancing has helped Hannah Weighart develop a “performance mindset” that will be helpful to her both on and off the stage. He said he noticed this skill a few years ago when she performed an interview and dance solo on stage in front of several hundred people while competing in the statewide Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen Competition.

“She’s not an off-the-chart extrovert by any means, but it really struck me how comfortable she was with all that,” Scott Weighart said. “It’s a great skill to have… to be able to put your game face on and know what you need to do to prepare yourself, so you can not only get through it and not feel too nervous, but actually enjoy it.”

]Weighart said she enjoys dancing because it is a way to spend time with her friends. According to Scott Weighart, his daughter’s involvement with performing arts at the high school, both in Progressions, the high school’s annual dance performance, and in musical theater, has led to a circle of some of her closest friends.

The main reason Weighart loves dancing, however, is that she simply loves performing. For her, being on stage is both energizing and exhilarating.

“I just love performing for people,” she said. “The best feeling is afterwards if someone comes up to you and says, ‘You did such an amazing job. I loved how you were smiling.’ It’s just so awesome to hear feedback like that, and it makes you feel like you’ve done your job right.”

 Sarah Cardwell-Smith can be contacted at [email protected]